The Water Quality Association's first WQA Aquatech USA International Exhibition and Educational Conference produced big increases in attendance and exhibitors.

At press time, we did not know the final tally, but attendee registration stood at 4,292, one day before the end of the show. That's a 50 percent increase over the WQA trade show in 2004.

In addition, the total number of companies exhibiting was 331, up 60 percent from the year before. Finally, the trade show sold out its 599 booth spaces, up almost 50 percent from the 2004 trade show.

This is the first year the WQA joined forces with Amsterdam RAI, a 100-year-old trade show organizer based in The Netherlands. Amsterdam RAI has put on the successful Aquatech Amsterdam show in The Netherlands for the past 40 years. This every-other-year, four-day event attracts more than 22,000 attendees to a trade show featuring more than 800 exhibitors.

Over the past 12 months of planning Aquatech USA's first rendition, other allied organizations joined in the effort. The Association of Water Technologies; the International Water Conference; the International Ozone Association; and the International UV Association all helped present educational seminars.

A couple of the education seminars underscored the growing use of water filtration equipment to help smaller communities comply with more stringent arsenic regulations and help homeowners deal with possible contamination issues of treated water.

  • “Centralized water treatment is not affordable,” said Jeffery Stuck, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Arsenic is a major issue for Arizona and the EPA regulations on allowable levels drop considerably for the nation next year.

    Larger cities may be able to address the issue at a central plant, but smaller communities may need to rely on individual installation of POE/POU equipment. Stuck said that some Arizona communities could be hit with water rate increases of $80 a month if a central plant had to upgrade its equipment to reduce arsenic to the new levels.

    In 2001, Stuck's department developed an “Arsenic Master Plan.” One element of the plan led the organization to work with Watts Water Technologies. The manufacturer organized the installation of reverse osmosis equipment. The results of the feasibility study showed that individual RO equipment installed in each of the communities' residences could effectively and, more importantly, affordably handle the new arsenic regulations.

  • Another educational session discussed the potential contamination issues affecting treated water as it travels from plant to residences.

    “Water does change as it goes through miles of a distribution systems,” said session moderator Joseph H. Harrision, PE, technical director of the WQA. “More and more research and more and more attention is being paid to this issue.”

    Researcher Marc Edwards discussed how the commonly used disinfection processes of water treatment plants could cause problems at the tap. That's the situation with last year's well-publicized cases of huge surges in the amount of lead discovered in many homes in Washington, D.C.

    “Well-intentioned EPA regulations may be causing significant problems in homes,” said Edwards, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

    PM readers will be able to read more about these issues in next month's Clean Water Report.